Homesteading is becoming a popular choice in modern America. People are slowly shirking the city and moving into the country for a simpler life. A key part of homesteading is choosing a dog to keep you company but will also do a key job for you. There are many key elements to consider, but there are a few important factors to making your homestead dog friendly.
Understanding your dog’s prey drive is very important as it will factor into what kind of animals you can keep. Equally, your dog’s desire to stay in range of the farm will be a key factor as to how far you can let them roam. Finally, it is important to note that these are not blanket recommendations. Each dog is an individual and will have variances in their personality and temperament meaning that there is no guarantee the puppy you bring home will be a perfect fit. These are our best recommendations.
American Labradors make fantastic dogs for potential owners who live in the country. Their love of the outdoors combined with their happy go lucky personalities makes them a great match for the homestead lifestyle.
Though they have a love of chasing, Labradors make a great homesteading dog as they have a very low chase drive. This means they are incredibly unlikely to chase and injure your animals. This being said, they are very intelligent as a breed and are often able to learn to heard and help out around the farm.
Their shorter coats are naturally water resistant and require very little grooming. This makes them a fantastic low maintenance dog for life on the farm!
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Though they are not as agile as some of the other breeds on this list, having a Mastiff on your homestead can act as a deterrent for others.
Research shows that having a large, intimidating dog around your property reduces the likelihood of poaching significantly. Providing a shelter for your mastiff-type dog to stay outside with your animals will cause any poachers to think twice before entering your property.
The scent of a large dog on your property is also likely to deter any natural predators such as wolves or foxes.
Despite their scary appearance, Mastiff type dogs are often gentle and cautious dogs with lots of love to give. This makes them a good match for families with young children about!
Contrary to their name, the Australian Shepherd is actually an American breed, bred by cowboys to help them herd cattle.
These brave and intelligent pups make a great match for those looking to get back to their all American roots.
If you are planning to keep larger animals on your homestead, then having a shepherd dog to help you control them is a must. Australian Shepherds are quick, light on their feet and highly intelligent. This rapid intelligence also makes them excellent at trick training, if you ever want to branch out and teach them to do other things!
Despite their herding instinct, Australian Shepherds can do very well around smaller animals and so are less likely than other breeds to injure your chickens!
Jack Russel Terrier
Originally bred as ratters, the Jack Russell Terrier is an excellent breed for anyone looking to control vermin on their farm. This little but mighty breed gained popularity and traction in England, bred as a hunting dog to help bring down rats, rabbits and other small species.
These tenacious and clever little dogs may look small, but their bite is very much worse than their bark when it comes to rats!
If you are planning to bring home a Jack Russell Terrier, you will need to have excellent management around your farm. For example, if you are keeping poultry, they will need to be behind well reinforced fences to deter a Jack Russell! Alternatively, putting excellent training in place, such as an emergency stop, will help to protect your poultry!
Despite their ferocity around small vermin, they are a loving and genial breed, doing very well in homes with young children. When they’re not off making lots of noise or chasing anything they please, a Jack Russell Terrier is often found taking a nap in a sunny spot of their homestead.
The Great Pyrenees might be the ultimate homesteading dog! Originally bred as livestock guardians in the Pyrenean Mountains, these dogs have found a new lease of life as a homesteader.
Due to their heritage as mountain dogs, they have long, slick double coats. Their naturally water repellent coat needs very little maintenance beyond daily brushing and is all weather for whatever the day brings you.
As a breed, they have a very little desire to dig and so your vegetable patches are safe. Equally, they have little desire to chase, and so your livestock are safe. Instead, their favorite pastime is to find a sunny spot and watch over their livestock. Their naturally protective nature means they are happy to work as guard dogs, protecting all there from poachers or predators.
Despite their large size, the Great Pyrenees is a naturally patient and kind dog, making them a great match for budding families or homes with already established dogs.
Though it may sound like an odd choice, a pug can do very well on a homestead. Their goofy nature can make them a great laugh when you are out and about on your farm.
They have a short, no nonsense coat that requires very little grooming. While it is on the shorter side and they may need a coat in cold and/or wet weather, their naturally sunny personalities mean they are happy to go along with it. Bred as companion dogs, these happy go lucky pups have no desire to dig or to chase – they are happy plodding about and smelling the roses. Naturally playful, these dogs are generally happy playing in a field with their friends while you work.
It is also important to note that while they don’t have natural homing instincts like the Great Pyrenees or the Australian Shepherd, Pugs have a natural desire to be close to you. This means they are unlikely to stray far from the homestead and get lost!
David Woods is a carpenter, outdoorsman, and author with more than 30 years of professional woodworking experience. He is the author of best-seller How to Build a Log Home and has educated more than half a million people on how to build a log cabin via his blog, Log Cabin Hub. Connect with David on Facebook, and read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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Originally Published: 3/12/2021 9:29:00 AM